The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Raising a toast to Mark

At dinner this evening, we raised a toast to my friend Mark, without whom I would still be struggling like crazy to get my new wireless broadband connection to work. There are serious benefits to knowing someone with great and wonderful techie skills, and I’ve finally managed to take advantage of it.

After moving house over 3 months ago, I finally upgraded from Tesco Dial-up (painfully slow, but very cheap) to Tesco Broadband, which is also very cheap but a great deal faster. I’ve not gone for the 2MB deal that Mark has, as I reckon that the half-meg connection is more than enough for me to be getting on with, but I dare say I’ll discover its limitations soon enough.

I was, in fact, able to get the broadband connection sorted out myself. Tesco.net had sent me through the hardware, the software and the instructions. To my utter amazement, it all worked perfectly – so long as I didn’t mind having the computers sitting in the hallway, no further than 20 inches from the phone socket. Emboldened by my success I went trotting off to Comet and bought myself a wireless kit.

Faced with a bewildering array of options, I talked to the assistant, who then found me another assistant, and finally I phoned Mark who gave me sound advice on which bits of kit to purchase. By the time I got home I was fully expecting to have a wi-fi enabled house by lunchtime.

Pah!

I followed the instructions, but there were bits that didn’t make sense. I made educated guesses followed by uneducated guesses, followed by random acts of hitting the keyboard with my forehead, but I still couldn’t get the bloody thing to work. I phoned the Tesco.net help and support line, but they were only able to give help and support for the modem they had sent me, and not wi-fi hardware that the support operatives had not been trained in.

By 9pm my wife insisted I try breathing regularly and to become aware of the world around me, before dragging me away from my corner of the hallway, to unheeded howls of protestation (quiet howls that is, as the wee one was in bed by then).

A couple of hours after breakfast I was still no further forward and realised that I needed to talk to someone who understood the arcane art of computing configurations. I called Mark who took time out of his life to talk me through all the various possibilities. Eventually, some 40 minutes into the proceedings, he managed to bring me to a point where I realised that I’d spelt my username incorrectly. After that, it worked like a dream.

And he’d even managed to help me find a manual override to open the CD drive on the PC, which has resolutely refused to discharge its contents for several weeks now. It transpires that there’s a tiny hole beneath the drive that you can slot a straightened paper clip into, which will release the mechanism by a few millimetres – just enough to be able to gently ease the tray out and rescue the CD ROM sitting in there.

What a guy! We are eternally grateful to Mark – my wife especially, as I now resemble a human being again – and he has been duly promised my fourth grandson in return for his troubles.

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